PROVO — Brigham Young University students Colin Ross, Elena Deighton, Annalee Ross and Remington Butler were repeatedly pulled into group photos and given cheers from the audience as they walked the dimly lit aisles of Provo’s Dry Bar Comedy Monday night.
One woman turned to a stranger in the row behind her as they passed, and told her, “It’s OK to stare, we’re all staring.”
The room was filled with the smell of popcorn and the excited chatter of around 200 college students and fans of the YouTube series “Provo’s Most Eligible.” Some drove for two hours and waited in a line that stretched outside the door and down the sidewalk for the chance to watch the final episode, meet the cast and even attempt to score dates with some of the crew and cast.
The show’s endearingly awkward staying power was made evident by the laughs, the boos, the "ooh's" and the "ahh's" that filled the room as the finale played on a screen above the stage and fans finally got to see which girl won Ross’ heart.
“I was crying,” said Bri Mayo, who drove from Logan to watch the finale and ask out Butler, the show’s host. “I literally had so much fun. I have the chills right now.”
“We didn’t expect that anyone would watch it. We expected that a little group of people might watch it maybe, but not the reaction that it got,” Butler told the audience in a Q&A, hosted by The Beehive, following the finale.
Ross’ awkward attempts to date 22 girls on camera in the style of “The Bachelor” have been viewed more than 150,000 times on YouTube, with several viewers calling the show a “trainwreck” and “the most awkward thing I’ve ever seen.” The show gained popularity as it spread via word of mouth and social media.
“The Bachelor of Provo” eventually evolved into “Provo’s Most Eligible” after copyright issues put a temporary hold on filming and prevented the cast from continuing the show in the same format.
In the end, Ross chose between contestants Deighton and Annalee Ross — even getting down on one knee in a mock proposal before asking the winning woman, Annalee Ross, to be his girlfriend.
Annalee Ross and Colin Ross have been discussing the next stage of their relationship, they say, and according to Annalee Ross, their relationship is "great,” though they aren't as quick to define it off-screen. They don’t know what the future holds — Colin Ross may leave Utah for the summer while Annalee Ross will continue with school — but they’re willing to explore it.
“We’re just going to kind of take it as it comes, … just kind of live in the moment,” Annalee Ross said. “Life’s too short to plan ahead (or) put an expiration date on things.”
Annalee Ross, who started a mock sorority at Brigham Young University with 35 of her friends, said when she first found a flyer for “The Bachelor of Provo,” she thought it would be funny to submit an application for all 36 of them.
The then-“Bachelor of Provo” crew reached out to tell her that too many people had applied on one application, so she applied on her own and got in.
“I totally had the expectation that it was going to be, like, two guys with iPhones and, like, 200 people were going to watch it,” Annalee Ross said, adding that she thought it’d be “something I’d pull out when I was, like, 30 and be like, ‘Look at this dumb thing I did.' But now we’re here.”
Colin Ross said that early on in the show, Annalee Ross was a standout. “I just think we had a good friendship from the beginning,” he said. “And I was like, ‘Hey, I think she’s really fun to hang out with.'”
As the pair got to know each other on-screen, they also began hanging out off-screen around the time the crew was filming the second episode.
Mayo, who has watched the show from the beginning, said she was happy to see the two together in the end.
“I was rooting for Annalee Ross,” Mayo said. “Elena is precious, but I feel like (Annalee Ross and Colin Ross) clicked way more and they’re just cute together.”
The future of the show
Now that “Provo’s Most Eligible” has concluded, the show’s crew is planning a second season — but this one will be a little different.
“We’re going to make our own unique dating show,” Butler told the audience at Dry Bar. “We’re going to have three girls that we’re going to help find love, so it’s going to be different than ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘Bachelorette.'”
Filmmaker and co-creator Carson Bown told the audience they’ve already had an overwhelming response to the second season.
“We’ve had 700 people apply already,” Bown said — a comment that was met with shouts from audience members eager to recommend friends who applied.Comment on this story
Show creators plan on filming the second season this summer and releasing it around September, according to Butler. As for Annalee Ross and Colin Ross, Butler said fans will probably see more of them on the show’s social media in the future.
“I think we’ll throw them in every now and then, see if they’re still together, if they’re married or engaged to other people,” he said.
The crew looks forward to expanding upon their first season to get an even greater reach for the second.
“We’ve put a lot of thought into it,” Bown said. “We weren’t very organized the first season, but I think we’re going to take a lot more time to organize (the second season) and make sure that it goes a lot smoother for us.”